Settle, Huskies win big; Redbirds off to 5-0 start

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Settle, Huskies win big; Redbirds off to 5-0 start

Settle's 3 TDs lead Huskies to lopsided win

DEKALB, Ill. -- Leighton Settle ran for 152 yards and three touchdowns, and Northern Illinois ran its home winning streak to 18 games Saturday with a 55-24 victory over Central Michigan in both teams' Mid-American Conference opener.

Settle opened the scoring with an 11-yard run in the first quarter before adding a 6-yard TD in the second. In the fourth, he ran 46 yards down the sideline to help seal the victory for the Huskies (4-1), who closed the game on a 31-3 run.

Jordan Lynch threw for 215 yards and a touchdown and added 144 yards rushing, and he and Keith Harris Jr. each scored on the ground. Mathew Sims kicked two field goals and ran 14 yards for a score on a fake field-goal attempt.

Ryan Radcliff threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns, including a 92-yarder to Titus Davis, for the Chippewas (2-2), and Zurlon Tipton added a rushing score.

Box score Complete recap

Redbirds edge South Dakota

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Darrelynn Dunn ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns and Illinois State won its fifth straight game, defeating South Dakota 34-31 on Saturday.

Matt Brown threw for 336 yards and a TD, and ran for another score. The Redbirds (5-0, 2-0 Missouri Valley) are off to their best start since the 1967 team began 6-0. Donovan Harden and Tyrone Walker each surpassed 100 yards receiving for ISU, with Harden hauling in a 79-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to break a 24-24 tie. Nick Aussieker kicked a 42-yard field goal with 56 seconds left to give Illinois State a 10-point lead.

Marcus Sims ran for 120 yards, including a 53-yard score, and caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Josh Vander Maten for the Coyotes (1-3), playing their first game in the Missouri Valley. Vander Maten threw for three touchdowns, all in the second half.

Box score Complete recap

Eastern Illinois rolls past Austin Peay

CHARLESTON, Ill. -- Jimmy Garoppolo threw five touchdown passes and ran for a score on Saturday, helping Eastern Illinois roll past Austin Peay 65-15.

Garoppolo completed 18 of 31 passes for 453 yards and rushed for 48 yards on seven carries for Eastern Illinois (3-2, 2-0 Ohio Valley). Jake Walker rushed for 80 yards and a pair of TDs.

Austin Peay (0-5, 0-3) scored both of its TDs in the second quarter, on a 6-yard pass from Jake Ryan to Devin Stark and a 15-yard run by Wesley Kitts.

Kitts' TD cut the Eastern Illinois lead to 31-15 with 39 seconds left in the first half, but Garoppolo quickly responded with a 63-yard scoring pass to Chris Wright with 11 seconds left in the half.

Box score Complete recap

Salukis go down at home

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Shakir Bell ran for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to help Indiana State pull away for a 24-3 victory over Southern Illinois on Saturday night.

Bell finished with 160 yards on 33 carries for Indiana State (3-2, 1-1 Missouri Valley).

He scored on a 2-yard run with 13:02 left in the game to give his team a 14-3 advantage, and ran another one in from 2 yards out with 9:48 left to make it 21-3.

Kory Faulkner, the quarterback for Southern Illinois (2-3, 1-1) was pressured most of the game by the Indiana State defense. He completed just 12 of 24 passes for 137 yards and was intercepted three times.

Box score Complete recap

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Can Deiondre' Hall overcome on- and off-field hurdles to make an impact with Bears?

Can Deiondre' Hall overcome on- and off-field hurdles to make an impact with Bears?

Rookie Deiondre' Hall flashed in the preseason a year ago, leading the Bears coaching staff and fans to believe they found something amidst their trio of 2016 fourth round draft picks. 

He’s hoping to do the same this August after overcoming one physical hurdle, while waiting to see if he can get past a legal hurdle he created for himself.

Let’s start on the field, where, just days after his first NFL interception in the fourth game last season, he sustained an ankle injury in practice, sidelining him for two months. Once his walking boot and scooter were finally put away, he was active for the final four games. But what progress he’d been making on the field was difficult to recapture.

“Just coming off the injury, there was a little rust here and there, but the training staff here’s great and I had to push through it,” Hall said at last week’s minicamp in Lake Forest after he was one of numerous Bears hit by the injury bug, but not one of the 19 who wound up on Injured Reserve. “(I was) getting comfortable with the defense and in myself playing with those guys out there, getting the opportunity in the red zone and making plays. But the injury kinda sucked because I haven’t really had an opportunity to play since Week 5, so I’m not necessarily starting fresh.”

As the offseason unfolded, Hall was informed the coaching staff was going to try him at safety, if not permanently, then as an option for the 6-foot-2, 201-pound Northern Iowa product. 

But Hall’s not totally foreign to the position. He was a free safety his first year in college, then transitioned to outside linebacker/nickel as a sophomore, moved to cornerback as a junior before breaking his hand his senior year, playing through it back where he started at safety. So the decision wasn’t a big deal, especially if it enhances his chances to get on the field. But his preference?

“Defense. Opportunity,” Hall responded. “You get in where you fit in and the more you can do, the better it is for the team. If opportunity presents itself at corner, then I’m at corner. But right now at safety, I’m making strides (there) and keep pushing for that.”

“We’re gonna float him back and forth,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said last month, after the Bears signed free agent cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper in the off-season, while Bryce Callahan and Cre’Von LeBlanc are expected to battle for slot duty and former first-rounder Kyle Fuller and veterans Johnthan Banks and B.W. Webb hope to impress. “He (Hall) had some experience there in college. When it comes down to picking your team and you’re taking nine or 10 DBs, if someone’s got versatility to play both of those spots, that helps, so we’re gonna see if he’s one of those guys.”

But before Hall gets back to work in Bourbonnais, he’ll find out if he has some other dues to pay. Hall was back at his alma mater’s Cedar Falls campus March 26th when he and a former UNI teammate were arrested outside a bar called Sharky’s. Police had responded to a call, and by the time all was said and done, Hall needed to be tased before being arrested on charges of public intoxication, interference (with an arrest), and disorderly conduct. 

The case was continued late last month and Hall’s jury trial is scheduled for July 11th. Pending the outcome, he could face disciplinary action from the team and the NFL. He’s told his side of the story to Bears management and while expressing remorse for putting himself in the situation, Hall says it wasn’t in character and feels confident in what the outcome will be.

“People make mistakes and the truth always comes out,” the 23-year-old said, adding the situation isn’t weighing on his mind or affected his preparation in off-season workouts. “You gotta let people make their own mistakes. I won’t shed light but the truth always comes out, and (I’ve learned) just don’t take anything for granted.”

“My main focus is football and keep pushing to make strides to become good, and great.”

Saad Day: Blackhawks deal Artemi Panarin for familiar face

Saad Day: Blackhawks deal Artemi Panarin for familiar face

When the Blackhawks found Artemi Panarin, they found a talent who was NHL ready from the start, who found instant chemistry with Patrick Kane and earned a Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. It was also a tremendous panacea for a team that couldn’t pull off a deal to keep Brandon Saad, who was the power forward that fit in beautifully in the Blackhawks’ top six.

On Friday, the Blackhawks brought Saad back and dealt Panarin to do it.   

Saad returns to the Blackhawks, who also acquire goaltender Anton Forsberg, in exchange for Panarin and Tyler Motte. The Blackhawks also get the Blue Jackets’ fifth-round pick in the 2018 NHL draft and the Columbus gets Chicago’s sixth-round pick from this weekend’s draft. Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the deal. The Blackhawks inherit Saad’s deal, which has four years remaining at a $6 million cap hit. Panarin was about to enter his current deal, which is two years with a $6 million cap hit. This is key for the immediate future; when Panarin’s latest deal is up, if he keeps up at his current pace, he’ll likely sign for a lot more.

[MORE: Blackhawks deal Hjalmarsson to Arizona]

The Blackhawks have missed Saad terribly since his departure. The team has struggled to find consistent line mates with Jonathan Toews, especially at that left-wing position. They did fairly well with Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik flanking Toews this season but it wasn’t as strong as the Saad-Toews combination. So it looks like the Blackhawks’ top line will be solidified again.

Now, what about the second line? As good as Toews and Saad’s chemistry was, Panarin’s and Kane’s was dynamite. The two had their respective skill, which they flashed often, and their ability to read each other was evident from the start. The Blackhawks’ second line was as consistent and steady the past two seasons as the top line was during Saad’s time here.

So, there are changes. The Blackhawks will absolutely miss what Panarin brings. But as far as bringing back a former Blackhawks player who could help in the present, getting the 24-year-old Saad back will be very beneficial.